Re: What were you doing Sep 11, 2001?
I remember being in my 5th grade math class when I heard the news. A classmate and I had a conversation that went something like this:
Classmate: Holy crap, terrorists took a bunch of planes and crashed them into buildings!
Me: Wait, so they stole a bunch of planes just so they could crash them?
Classmate: To kill a bunch of people.
Me: But if the terrorists were flying the planes, didn't they all die too?
Me: What a bunch of morons.
At that age, I was completely oblivious to things like religious violence and world politics in general. I wasn't thinking about whether or not America "deserved" the attacks, nor was I thinking about "bombing them damn Arabs". I was simply trying to wrap my head around how and why people do such things in the first place. It's extremely cliche to look back at one's childhood with rose-tinted glasses and remember the long lost innocence of youth, but that definitive moment really did serve as an awakening; an awakening to the world around me, to the fact that the world is much, much more than my own backyard, and to the realization that not all people mean well.
On the Friday night following that fateful Tuesday morning, I stayed up late watching the victims' families hold candlelight vigils to honor the loss of their loved ones and began to cry - not out of fear, not out of grief for the collapse of the towers and the attack on "our way of life", but out of empathy for the loss of fellow humans, as well as for their families and loved ones. I was extremely shaken and disappointed in humanity when I learned that these things happen all around the world with great frequency, and (without trying to turn this into a political post) that's exactly why I couldn't bring myself to support the ensuing War on Terrorism, even though it was considered the honorable thing to do. Despite being a mere 10 year old, I thought it was important to stand my ground in the face of criticism from people much older and more educated than myself. Besides the fact that we attacked the wrong people, I felt it was reprehensible to do the same thing to others that had just been done to us. Would these people we were bombing so mercilessly not leave behind grieving families who needed them? Do they not feel pain as we do? Furthermore, why would we want to spread this sense of loss and horror that had just been cast upon us to innocent lives who deserve nothing of the sort? At the risk of sounding preachy, I still to this day don't understand why everyone in the world can't grasp the fact that violence begets even more violence. Even as a naive 5th grader, it seemed quite simple: Give peace a chance.
RIP to the victims of 9/11, and to all who have lost their lives in the wake of senseless violence.